Can BlackBerry make it as an Android vendor? It had better hope so because its own smartphone sales keep getting worse and worse. The once-mighty smartphone pioneer revealed on Friday (PDF) that it recognized hardware revenue on just 800,000 smartphones sold on the quarter with an average selling price of $240. It goes without saying that this is a very, very bad number for hardware sales — Apple is going to sell significantly more iPhones today alone. Whatever BlackBerry 10’s merits as a platform, it seems smartphone users are staying away from it in droves and that only a small slice of diehards are still buying new devices.
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So Friday’s announcement that BlackBerry will release an Android phone called the BlackBerry Priv (short for “privacy”) looks like a Hail Mary pass for its hardware business.
In making its announcement, BlackBerry confirmed that the Priv “will run on the Android operating system, bringing together the best of BlackBerry security and productivity with the expansive mobile application ecosystem available on the Android platform.” The device is expected to be released “late” in 2015 and will be available in carrier stores and online.
As far as specs go, we expect the device will include a 5.4-inch quad HD display, an 18-megapixel camera, a hexa-core 1.8GHz Snapdragon 808 processor and 3GB of RAM.